Thursday, 25 August 2016

David Brent: Life On The Road

For the second time within weeks a movie is released based on a popular British television comedy series.

'David Brent: Life On The Road' brings back the excruciatingly off the mark manager (Ricky Gervais) from 'The Office' who takes time away from his current sales representative job to both manage and headline a band on tour. Brent is desperate to be popular, to be admired, to be part of the team. He fails in all respects blissfully ignorant as to how out of step he is with almost everyone he encounters. He seems incapable of learning from the constant rebuffs he experiences but he tries again and again.

As with the television series he is sad to watch, yet at times as compelling to view as the cliched train smash.

The question for me is what is the point of the movie. The recently released 'Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie' in its subject matter felt nothing more than an episode of the television original except it is on the big screen and is movie length.

At least 'David Brent: Life On The Road' takes its title character out of the office and into a different, musical, environment. There are a number of original songs, all of them containing excruciatingly inappropriate lyrics. Yet even then that transition is sandwiched between scenes of the familiar office context which open and close the film.

As with 'AbFab' this is mainly for aficionados.


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

War Dogs

'War Dogs' is based on actual events. Two twenty something young men pursue a get rich quickly strategy by winning tenders to provide arms to the United States Defence Forces and their allies in the Middle East war zones.

The two men succeed initially through a combination of bluff and ignorance but disaster seems inevitable.

Another look at the ugly side of life.


Monday, 22 August 2016

Food, glorious food

Melbourne's reputation for fine dining I am sure is justified. I've made two visits there in the past month and street level cafes were bristling with customers both times. I imagine finer and more expensive dining is also thriving but I made no attempt to try that out on these visits.

I spent less than twelve hours in the southern capital yesterday and my senses were sorely tempted at several sites in the city.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms
A patient queue suggests the Tea Rooms have quite a reputation
More queues, this time in a laneway for Doughnut Time
A lavish array of doughnuts

I succumbed to temptation at the Arts Centre with this Mango and Pineapple Cheesecake. The chocolate ball was hollow inside.

Sunday, 21 August 2016


John Kander and Fred Ebb were the masterful combination who created some outstanding musicals including, perhaps most notably, 'Chicago' and 'Cabaret'. Their last work together was 'Curtains' which is set in a theatre and is somewhat of a whodunnit as the leading lady is murdered during a rehearsal and a theatre-struck detective is called in to solve the case.

The musical is currently playing a limited season in Melbourne through The Production Company.

The musical is tuneful and contains some clever wordplay lyrics. The staging is professional and energetic. Unfortunately the plot is rather light and frivolous so that dramatically this is not a patch on the two earlier mentioned works.

Old fashioned and quaint.


Saturday, 20 August 2016


(Photo: Helen White & Sydney Morning Herald)

The current presentation by the Darlinghurst Theatre Company'Broken', is set on a remote roadside where a crash brings two strangers, victim and rescuer, together and is the spark for an evolving relationship although the rescuer has a partner at home.

The play is not acted out in a traditional sense, rather the three performers speak their lines to microphones illustrating the context of the scenes by creating their own sound effects. The staging reminds me of the radio plays of the 1950s I used to listen to as a child and on one occasion saw performed live from the audience.

It is all very simple, yet most effective. The three performers are engaging and deliver their lines with  an interesting, at times, poetic rhythm.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Jason Bourne

The latest in this series of thrillers which, as ever, sees renegade CIA agent 'Jason Bourne' on the run whilst trying to recall details of his lost past. In fact in this instalment those details are coming back to him.

This instalment has perhaps the lightest plot in the series to date and probably the most extravagant and improbable chase sequences. Matt Damon, once again playing the title role, has very little dialogue to deliver and is more brutish than ever, yet has lost little of his appeal.

More of the same but devotees will be largely satisfied.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

One customer's soup is another's sauce

I ordered Pork Won Ton soup and paid the associated price ($11.50) but when eventually it was delivered I was given Pork Won Tons in Peanut Sauce ($15.50).

It wasn't actually what I wanted but I took it. No extra charge.

This is the second mishap with my order from the same food outlet. They are not especially efficient. Luckily, for them, the food is tasty.